By Ben Faust, Contributor, BizLED Bureau
July 29, 2015: Of the many applications of LED lighting, retail lighting is becoming popular as it delivers significant energy savings compared to conventional light sources, and also due to its illumination, lifespan and color quality.
However, the promises that the LED manufacturers and solution providers are making, that is??LED lighting will enhance sales??is not easy to prove or get an order on the basis of this promise. Moreover, investment in LED lighting solution in retail stores is expensive; making it even more challenging for the LED manufacturers or integrators to convince their clients.
First let?s find out on what points the LED manufacturers or solution providers convince their retail clients to shift to LED lighting in the stores?the points that are easy to prove.
24/7 lighting: Retail stores need continuous lighting for at least 14 hours and some areas need 24/7 lighting. This not only leads to a big expense, but it is not easy to maintain the lighting system that operates for such long hours.
Some of the proven qualities of LED lighting?quality lighting and energy saving?make LED lighting an ideal choice for retail stores. Many LED fixtures come with commercial-rated for 24/7 operations. Some of the LED fixtures like recessed lights, flush mounts, wall mounts do not require changing of any bulb, make LED lighting a worry-free choice for retail stores.
Comfortable experience: Since LED lights don?t give off a buzzing sound, is flicker-free, and is instant-on, it provides a comfortable and hassle-free experience. Different areas of a retail store have different lighting needs and hence, one type of light cannot be provided for all areas. This problem can be resolved with LED lighting as they come in area-specific varieties, for example for staircases and railings, for passages, for the main-lit area, for showcases, etc.
Changing of lamps and maintenance: Retail stores usually have high ceilings, often 10-12 ft high or more. Hence, it becomes very difficult to replace the defective bulbs or maintain them properly. While traditional bulbs burn out frequently, LED bulbs last much longer?50,000 hours of continuous light output, cutting out the time, hassle and inconvenience of changing bulbs. Also, LED luminaires do not lose their lumen output over time like conventional light fixtures, thus ensuring overall uniform lighting.
Now let?s see what type of challenges the manufacturers face while convincing their retail clients. Can they live up to their promises?
Key challenges faced in offering retail lighting
Lighting supports sales: The key challenge in giving retail lighting solution is to deliver on the promise that ?LED lighting will support sales.? Most retail lighting developers and providers bank on the ?LED helps sales? pitch. While it is easy to prove the environmental benefits of LED lighting, can the retail lighting developers and integrators prove the correlation between better lighting and increased sales?
Unfortunately, lighting experts say that it is not easy to separate lighting from the various other variables that influence people?s shopping decisions. Even the lighting developers and managers admit that they need a more convincing approach to prove the link between lighting and sales, which at the moment cannot be proved convincingly.
However, some studies have been done which say that there is definitely a link between quality lighting and sales.
A study done by lighting manufacturer Soraa, states that high quality lighting, especially when it uses high CRI sources, renders colors more vividly, which is crucial for the surfaces of fabrics and furniture, as well as for food, produce, jewelry, clothing.
The study says that customers? behavior in retail areas is influenced significantly by perception and a sense of well-being, and light is an important design tool which impacts these parameters. High quality lighting makes customers more comfortable, and customers who are more comfortable in an environment tend to stay longer and shop more. Quality lighting also creates a specific mood for a store that is an integral part of the brand of the retailer, and enhances not only products but the entire experience of the store.
A study commissioned by lighting supplier Xicato conducted in a London House of Fraser store shoe display found there is a strong link between the quality of light sources, in terms of color rendering ability and in particular the rendering of deep reds, and the attention-grabbing potential of retail displays. The study was conducted by independent researcher, Colette Knight, and peer reviewed by University College London.
A Hera Lighting-commissioned study conducted by Merchant Mechanics at GNC health and nutrition stores found that:
- 4.6% of store customers browsed the illuminated end-cap compared with only 2.6% of customers who browsed the display when the illumination was off.
- Of the 4.6% of store customers who stopped at the end-cap to browse merchandise, 33.3% made a purchase when the lighting was on compared with 14.3% when the lighting was off.
- When the end-cap displays were lit, 21.6% of customers glanced into the storefront compared with 12.1 % when the lights were off.
- When the display illumination was on, an average of 3.7% of passing mall pedestrians were attracted into the store. The figure fell to 2.1 % when the illumination was off.
- The average amount of time spent browsing by a shopper who stopped at the end-cap display increased from 8.4 seconds when the light was off to 17.8 seconds when the end-cap was illuminated.
Lack of standards: The LED lighting market still lacks proper standards, which makes difficult to convince the retail clients on whether they are getting the best deal and the most appropriate specs. Currently, there are only US regulations for LEDs. There is no standard in Europe or Asia. Some countries have started their own verification methods. For instance, the UK Lighting Industry Association has started an independent verification program for LED products, but the industry feels that there should be a large-scale approach.
The long life pitch: The long lifespan pitch for LED lighting does not work for a retailer with a short lease. According to an estimate, about 90% of the retail estate is leasehold, typically for less than 10 years. Here, the lighting providers cannot lure the clients with a 20-year lifespan of LED lighting.
Long warranties: Again the long warranty pitch does not appeal all retailers. They ask how they can trust the claim made by the manufacturers, and whether the solution providers will be around to honour their warranties if a product fails during the long warranty period.
So, there is still a debate to on what is the right approach to convince retail clients to shift to LED lighting.
Opinions expressed by BizLED contributors are their own. None of the facts and figures mentioned in the story have been created by BizLED.co.in. BizLED is not responsible for any factual errors.
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